Olawale Babalakin

President 2018 to date


Dr. Bolanle Olawale Babalakin was born on the 1st of July 1960; the year Nigeria gained its independence from British Colonial Rule to the family of the Honorable Mr. Justice Bolarinwa Oyegoke Babalakin, a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Mrs. Ramotu Ibironke Babalakin a pioneer female hospital proprietress in Western State. For his nursery and primary education he attended Sacred Heart Private School where very early on he began to show signs of intellectual potential as he left the school in 1970 as the best overall student.

He proceeded to the prestigious Government College Ibadan for his secondary school education and was the Banjo’s prize winner in Grier House for 1971. For his ‘A’ levels Dr. Babalakin was at the Polytechnic Ibadan and was admitted into the University of Lagos in 1978.

As an Undergraduate Dr. Babalakin’s exceptional academic talent began to blossom as he was reputed to be one of the most exceptional students in the faculty and was not surprising when he graduated at the top of the class in the Faculty of Law in 1981. He was a keen debater who featured as one of the two debaters in the annual University debate anchored by the Department of Mass Communication in 1981. He was also the Lead Counsel in the only Faculty Moot Court Session in 1981. On completion of his first degree in the University of Lagos, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School where he was called to the Nigeria Bar in 1982.

Although by 1982 Dr. Babalakin had qualified as a Barrister and thus entitled to practice the profession of his choice, the intellectual side of him prompted him to apply to the very prestigious University of Cambridge and in 1982 was one of the three Africans admitted into Cambridge for the pioneer Master of Laws Degree. He was admitted to Corpus Christ College which was founded in 1351. Although his academic program was sponsored by his father, in 1984, he could not resist the allure and prestige of a Commonwealth Scholarship which in that year was only made available to three Nigerian students, in Cambridge, studying abroad and who were awarded the scholarship for outstanding academic performance.

He was also a member of the Philologues in Corpus Christi College. The Philologues is made up of outstanding students of the College, not exceeding twelve members from the entire college who possess demonstrable academic and leadership qualities. In the opinion of the Master of the College these men are capable of providing refreshing leadership in their chosen area.

In 1983 Dr. Babalakin was awarded the Masters of Laws Degree in flying colours. He proceeded immediately with his doctoral program and bagged a doctorate degree in 1986 on the eve of his 26th birthday. It is believed that Dr. Babalakin is probably youngest Nigerian to hold a doctorate Degree in Law. On departing Cambridge University, the Master of Wolfson College who has also held the revered chair of the Rouse Ball Professor of the Laws of England and also one time Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University had the following to say about him:
“We look forward to hearing great things about your future career. Your research work here was extremely consistent and sound and you fully deserved your PhD. I hope it now gives you the confidence and impetus for the future”

This remark seems to have been the spur Dr. Babalakin needed in the real world. Since leaving Cambridge University he has moved from one level of accomplishment to another, enough to fill up three separate life times. Professor William’s prediction about Dr. Babalakin’s future career appeared to have been prescient as he has excelled not only in his first love of the Law but in other areas of human endeavor.

On returning to Nigeria in December 1986, Dr. Babalakin joined the firm of his esteemed mentor and father figure in the Profession, Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams (FRA). Dr. Babalakin had developed a relationship with the great sage from when he was a law student attached to his Chambers. The relationship had been sustained throughout his stay in Cambridge through Chief directly; who had a relentless penchant for encouraging the young ones, and one of his sons who was also at Cambridge with Dr. Babalakin. Dr. Babalakin willingly accepts that his interaction with Chief Williams in his early years as a practitioner defined his aspiration in the field of legal practice.

On leaving Chief Williams chambers after a very memorable stay in December 1987, he proceeded to found the firm of Babalakin and Co on the 1st of July 1988 coincidentally on his 28th birthday. The firm Babalakin and Co blossomed and today is one of the leading law firms in Nigeria with over 70 Lawyers in the Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt offices of the firm. The firm has been engaged with very substantial litigation with some of them quite controversial. Being a fervent believer in the concept of JUSTICE ACCORDING TO LAW and not according the whims and caprices of the administrators of the law, Dr. Babalakin has found himself on many occasions taking positions which appear contrary to established view and sometimes quite confrontational to the authorities. Babalakin and Co has trained many lawyers in all facets of the profession including the Managing Partner of the firm who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. As of date, at least six senior advocates of Nigeria trace the receipt of this honour to Babalakin and co. He has also actively encouraged intellectual pursuits within the firm to the extent that many members of the firm hold postgraduate qualifications from very prestigious universities all over the world.

With the same intellectual zeal, Dr. Babalakin has pursued his business interests. He is to be found in any sphere of business that requires serious cerebral input. After making major successes in the development of real estate including the proprietorship of a few high rise buildings between Abuja and Lagos, Dr. Babalakin through his Company Bi-Courtney Limited applied for the Concession of the Lagos Domestic Airport after the said Airport was razed by fire. Nobody gave the project a chance as it was considered too cumbersome for the capacity of a private company. Within three years of the grant of the Concession and in the face of serious hostility and governments’ inconsistency on the issue, Bi-Courtney Limited completed the new domestic airport now known as MMA2 which has been variously described as the best airport in Nigeria today and definitely the first Airport terminal to be built in Africa with private funds which had no support from the Government. It is a testimony to the intellectual strength of the promoter and his relentless effort to prove that the Nigerian can play an active role in the development of the much needed infrastructure of the country.

He is also the chairman of Bi-Courtney Highways Limited, an infrastructure development company that initiated, conceptualized and packaged the first Toll Road PPP in Nigeria i.e. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Project; Chairman of a major construction company known as Stabilini Visinoni Limited; Chairman of Resort International Limited, a hospitality and leisure company which is currently engaged in converting the former Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, Lagos to luxury block of flats and the development of a 300 bed hotel at the Airport. He is also Chairman of Homan Engineering Company Limited, a prominent civil engineering company operating in the South of Southern Nigeria.

In view of the above it is not surprising that Chief Rotimi Williams once remarked at a party held to celebrate the elevation of Dr. Babalakin to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002, as follows:

“In the course of my very extensive career I have never come across any person who combined achievement at the highest level in legal practice with the same level of success in the business world”

Dr. Babalakin has made his enormous talents available to the Nigerian community. In 2005 he was appointed by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a member of the National Political Reforms Conference where he served on the Legal Reform Committee. He also served as the Chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Sub Committee which was ultimately responsible for the dHe was also the Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria. He was also the Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Agreements entered into between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various unions of the Nigerian Universities namely the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria ASUU, SSANU, NAAT and NASU. In this capacity he has played a significant role in promoting industrial harmony in the Federal Universities. Dr. Babalakin embarked on all these activities without drawing any allowance or stipend from any of these institutions. He fervently believes that the reform of the educational system must be led by committed people who are willing to serve selflessly.

In May 2017, he was appointed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, his alma mater. Coincidentally the first alumnus of the University of Lagos to be appointed as Pro-Chancellor. This appointment came in on the heels of his appointment as the Chairman of the Renegotiation Committee of the 2009 Federal Government of Nigeria and University Based Unions Agreements.

In addition to all this, he has also been very committed to a lot of philanthropic activities. He has since then:
1. Donated an 80 bed hostel to the University of Ilorin in the name of his father, the Hon Mr. Justice Bolarinwa Oyegoke Babalakin.
2. Donated an 80 bed hostel in Ibogun, Ogun State in the memory of his mother, Mrs. Ramotu Ibironke Babalakin.
3. Donated a 500 seater Auditorium to the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in memory of his late mother.
4. Treated 1000 patients with various eye diseases in Ayedaade Local Government.
5. Treated 4,000 patients with various eye diseases in Owo Local Government under the foundation set up for his late mother.
6. He has an elaborate scholarship in and out of Nigeria with over 200 students in Nigeria and about 40 students abroad.
7. Treated 10,000 patients with various eye diseases in Zaria in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the reign of the Emir of Zaria in 2015.

In recognition of this outstanding life, he has received many awards nationally and internationally and was conferred in 2007 with the national honour of Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, OFR.

Dr. Babalakin is married to Olugbolahan Babalakin the daughter of the Honourable Mr. Justice and Mrs. Y. A. O. Jinadu, who is also a lawyer by profession. They are blessed with children.

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